Arsene Wenger has called on everyone to judge Arsenal at the end of the season – not just when emotions are running high in the disappointment of defeat.
The Gunners headed to Turkey yesterday looking to quickly get over the Premier League loss at Stoke, where they had trailed 3-0 at half-time having gone behind after just 19 seconds on another afternoon to forget at the Britannia Stadium.
Wenger was later jeered and subjected to some aggressive personal abuse as the players boarded the train back to London.
However, the 65-year-old insists everyone must take a distance on current issues, with Arsenal having left several senior men such as Alexis Sanchez back in London to face Galatasaray with half-a-dozen youngsters for the final Champions League Group D tie, the team already qualified for the last 16.
“Look, the response after a defeat is always very important. What we want is to come back quickly to a strong defensive performance, what we had before the game (on Saturday),” said Wenger, whose side are sixth in the Premier League table.
“We want to be judged at the end of the season, not after every single game where it is normal that emotion is always very high, so let us get our stability back defensively and see at the end of the season where we are.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has urged the rest of his squad to do their bit to join the Steven Gerrard as part of the club’s folklore.
The Reds have to beat Basle at Anfield tonight if they are to keep their Champions League dream alive. The match has echoes of the game against Olympiacos in 2004. It is exactly 10 years to the day when, with his side needing to win by two clear goals to make the knockout stages, Gerrard smashed home with four minutes to go on to clinch a 3-1 victory.
It was the beginning of the club’s march towards a famous fifth European Cup win in Istanbul against AC Milan – a match which Gerrard heavily influenced again – but Rodgers insists the next generation now need to rise to the occasion.
‘’In terms of Steven, we can’t be just reliant solely on him, this has to be about a team performance,’’ said Rodgers.
‘’We need other players to step up to the mark, take on responsibility and be a catalyst.”
‘’There are few world class players around so when you are in a team that responsibility falls even more so on you but it has never been about that for us.
‘’For us to get a result tomorrow night we need for the team to be performing well and get a performance.
‘’This is a competition which has a great history here for Liverpool and the Olympiacos game was a part of that.
‘’It is an opportunity for the players now to qualify and make sure they write themselves into folklore by winning the game and ensuring they get into the next round - because that is the objective.’’